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Shaving Your Cat: Vet Verified Pros & Cons

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

shaved persian cat

Shaving Your Cat: Vet Verified Pros & Cons


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Although cats groom their fur frequently, they sometimes need help from their owners to keep their hair and fur healthy. Whether your cat has matted fur or it’s hot out and you want to keep them cool, shaving them may seem like a good idea. However, vets generally don’t recommend shaving cats for several reasons, though there are exceptions.

Here’s everything you need to know about shaving your cat.

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Shaving Your Cat: The Pros

There are not a lot of situations that warrant shaving your cat, but it can be valuable in some circumstances. For example, if your cat has serious wounds or a skin condition that leads to irritation and hygiene issues, shaving your cat gives you access to the affected area to keep it clean and treated. In that case, it’s best to shave only the area surrounding the wound, if possible.

Another situation when shaving may be necessary is if your cat is severely matted. While you can remove mats with baths, brushing, combing, and detangling spray, that may not be an option with skittish cats or ones that have been neglected. Shaving may be the only option to get a fresh start.

If you have an older cat or a cat with mobility issues that can’t groom properly, shaving may be necessary if you can’t keep up with their grooming needs on your own. This should be avoided as much as possible, however.

Some longer-haired cats struggle to keep their back end clean, and feces and urine can get stuck in the fur. This is more common in overweight cats, but your vet or groomer may recommend trimming some of the fur in the area to help keep it clean and hygienic.

Grooming cat with tool for shedding hair
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Shaving Your Cat: Cons

If you don’t have a medical need to shave your cat, it’s not a good idea. Pet hair isn’t like human hair; it’s designed to help your pet regulate their temperature naturally. This is especially true of cats who evolved in desert environments and tolerated heat better than most people and dogs.

Shaving your cat’s coat doesn’t help them cool off any easier. In fact, you can damage their coat and affect its ability to cool itself properly with repeated shaving. In addition, your cat’s coat protects them from sun, irritation, injuries, and more. Sunburn can be a significant issue for cats without fur, leaving your cat at increased risk of skin cancer.

Does It Matter if My Cat Is Indoor or Outdoor?

Neither indoor nor outdoor cats need shaving. Cats can cool themselves as needed, especially if they’re living inside your climate-controlled home. They’re also generally cleaner than outdoor cats.

As far as outdoor cats, they deal with more temperature extremes, but that’s why they need their natural coats for temperature regulation. Shaving your outdoor cat not only harms their ability to stay warm or cool, but it leaves the skin vulnerable to insect bites, cuts and scratches, and sunburn.

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Cats rarely need to be shaved, at least not entirely. Most skin conditions and injuries can be managed by shaving only around the affected areas, and it’s not a substitute for routine grooming. However, cats depend on their fur to regulate their temperature and protect them from the sun, and most healthy cats don’t need haircuts. If you think your cat would benefit from being shaved, speak to your vet before making the decision.


Featured Image Credit: Santi Nanta, Shutterstock

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